How my love for Disney helped me find the love of my life
It was the summer of 2012, and my friend’s ’80s themed party was underway. A Michael Jackson song was playing loudly, filling the dance floor with guests. Cups were raised high in celebration, and people were laughing and sweating. I, however was off to the side, listening to a man I had dated a year before tell me just what he thought about me.
“Your obsession with Disney will scare men away,” he said. I didn’t know what to say. His words didn’t stab me once but a million times over. As I kept quiet, he went on and on about what has actually become a big part of my life.
Then, before he could say any more, I said the first thing that came to my mind: “If I can’t be accepted for who I am and for what I love, then that is not my problem.”
If you know me on a personal level, you are well aware of just how much I love Disney. I love everything from the characters and the movies to the merchandise and soundtracks. I’ve lost count of how many Disney T-shirts and sweaters are in my closet (although, I do know how many Disney-themed shoes I have). I collect authentic film cells, vinyls, and artwork. You want to know a thing or two about Disney? I’m your gal.
Through both the good and the bad, Disney has never failed me. When I watch Disney movies, I become a kid again — in seconds, I forget my worries and am filled with a sense of wonder. During my bout of depression two years ago, Disney kept my spirits afloat through loving characters and uplifting songs. But above all, Disney helped me believe that my dreams can really come true, even my dream of finding my Prince Charming.
I was a high school freshman when I met Jorge, a sophomore at the same school I attended. A mutual friend of ours introduced us in hopes that we would become a couple — and lo and behold, we did Jorge was my first boyfriend, and I was his first girlfriend. We were truly in love.
Jorge learned about my love for Disney, and I learned about his love for Star Wars. We didn’t talk about Disney or Star Wars much, but we respected each other’s fandoms. We had a lot on our plates — on top of being students, Jorge and I were both in the marching band. We had rehearsals, football games, and performances to worry about. We hardly saw each other outside of school.
Eight months into our relationship, we hit a snag, the kind that creates distance and silence. It was then that we decided to be friends. For the next 10 years, we had a good friendship. What I didn’t know was that Jorge was still very much in love with me.
Then came May 19, 2015. Jorge and I hadn’t seen each other in months, so we agreed to go to the mall to catch up. We walked and talked about the movie we had just finished seeing, work (or the lack of it), and everything else going on in our lives. As we rounded a corner, I spotted the Disney Store, and its entrance was full of Star Wars merchandise.
“Do you want to go to the Disney Store?” I asked. I already knew the answer, but I wanted to hear it for myself.
Jorge saw the store, his eyes widening. With a big smile, he said, “Oh, definitely.”
That was the first time we went to the Disney Store together. I saw a side of Jorge I had never seen before — the kid-like demeanor, sudden gasps of surprise, his eyes full of wonder. He was just like me, the kind of person who unabashedly shows their fandom for something.
I began to wonder if there was a second chance for Jorge and I. I suddenly felt a deeper connection to him than ever before. I also couldn’t dismiss the fact that I kept all of our photos from high school. I could never find it in myself to throw them away, even when I was dating someone else. I realized at that moment that maybe, after all this time, I still loved him. Later that night, after we parted ways and went home, we spoke on the phone. We finally told each other how we felt. There was a second chance for us after all.
The months that followed were an adventure, especially when it came to Disney and Star Wars. It didn’t take long for Jorge to love Disney more than he already did, or for me to become a Star Wars fan. We told each other our favorite Disney animated films from the get-go — Jorge’s is Aladdin, and mine is Beauty and the Beast. When I told Jorge I had never seen the original Star Wars trilogy, we had a marathon.
Whenever Jorge and I went to the mall, our first stop was always, and still is, the Disney Store. We didn’t want to miss any new merchandise. And when there is anything new, we run to it. I’m not kidding.
When the Disney Store released Rey’s and Kylo Ren’s lightsabers from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we were ecstatic. Jorge bought both of them without thinking twice. We left the store with me holding Rey’s lightsaber and Jorge holding Kylo Ren’s. We got to the car, and Jorge opened the trunk, putting the lightsaber in it. He looked up at me to discover I wasn’t doing the same.
“What?” he asked, smiling.
“Want to have a lightsaber battle?” I asked, smiling back.
Jorge didn’t think twice about that either. We quickly unwrapped our lightsabers, and the battle began. We completely immersed ourselves into the world that is in a galaxy far, far away. We couldn’t stop smiling, laughing, and of course creating our own moves with the lightsabers. We didn’t mind the small audience watching from afar, especially since they were smiling and laughing, too. The battle finally came to an end when I accidentally hit Jorge in the eye (thank goodness the lightsabers weren’t real).
We were on our way home, still all smiles, when Jorge asked me, “Will you be busy between December 7th and 10th?”
I found the question to be odd since I was unemployed. “No, I don’t think so,” I said. “Actually, let me reword that: I know I won’t be busy.”
“Okay, good,” Jorge replied. “Because we’re going to Disney World.” He looked at me briefly to see my reaction.
I looked at him with an open mouth and wide eyes. Excitement began to build up inside of me. “Are you serious?” I asked.
He looked at me with a smile and simply nodded. I put my hands over my mouth and began to squeal. I thought about all the fun we were going to have, the characters we were going to meet, and the fireworks shows we were going to see. I was close to tears.
“Oh, and one more thing,” Jorge said. “I was able to make a dinner reservation at Be Our Guest on the last day we’ll be there.”
By the time I knew it, Jorge and I were in Orlando having the greatest time of our lives. Every park was decked with Christmas decorations — Disney World is already beautiful, but with the Christmas trees and lights, wreaths and big red bows, it was breathtaking. We made sure we did all that we wanted to do at every park. Sometimes we even stumbled upon something new. On the first day, we were at Hollywood Studios. As I was overlooking the park’s guide map, I saw a new attraction. I immediately grabbed Jorge’s hand and began to run.
“Where are we going?” he asked, trying to stay at my side rather than behind me.
“Just trust me,” I replied with a big grin. The attraction was Star Wars Launch Bay. Not only were movie props displayed, but there were meet-and-greets for Chewbacca and Darth Vader. We met both characters, and for both meet-and-greets I stepped to the side so Jorge could have a private moment with them. He hugged Chewbacca countless times (I couldn’t help but to do the same), and he knelt in front of Darth Vader, pledging his allegiance to the dark side. To this day, Jorge considers meeting Chewbacca and Darth Vader his favorite character interactions.
On the last day at Disney World, we were at Magic Kingdom. We did all that we could during the day then went back to the hotel to change for dinner — I suggested we wear something nice. We were going to have dinner at the Beast’s castle! When we returned to Magic Kingdom, the sun had set and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party had started. Holiday music filled the air, the lights were on, and fake snow was falling. What couldn’t be missed was Cinderella’s castle, which was covered with lights resembling icicles. We were surrounded by pure Disney magic.
Jorge and I left the party early and entered Be Our Guest. Our waiter led us to the Grand Ballroom, an exact replica of the room where Belle and the Beast dance in the film. The ballroom was exquisite with its big chandeliers, tall windows, and a detailed mural on the ceiling. After dinner, Jorge grabbed both of my hands, looked deep in my eyes, and told me how much he loved me. He said it was worth waiting 10 years to have us be together again — and this time he wasn’t going to let me go. He added that the past few months were the best of his life, and he wanted to keep on adding months as well as years.
Still holding both of my hands, Jorge led me to the Christmas tree. As we stood in front of it, he promised me that he would dedicate his life to taking care of me and making me happy. It was then that he let go of my hands, reached into his pocket, and got down on one knee. He opened a small black box and asked, “Will you be my wife?”
I looked down and was instantly captured by the beautiful ring. I gazed into Jorge’s eyes, and with abounding joy said yes. He got up and carefully slipped the ring on my finger. I kissed him, wrapped my arms around him, and whispered, “I love you,” in his ear over and over again. Jorge was my Prince Charming all along — he had been in my life as my boyfriend, friend, and now fiancé. He never gave up on us, even after 10 long years. I am so thankful he didn’t because I can’t imagine a life without him.
Disney, and by extension Star Wars, strengthened our relationship. Jorge and I were never embarrassed to show our true selves to each other when it came to the things we loved. We were able to be nerds together. For so long I had no one to talk to about Disney or share my excitement with. Now that I have Jorge, I can talk to him about Disney and express my enthusiasm for upcoming films and merchandise — and he not only listens to me but engages in the conversation and also becomes excited.
I once asked him, “Did my love for Disney ever scare you?”
“Never,” he said, shaking his head. “I love you for all that you are, including the Disney side of you.”